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King Juan Carlos I to retire from public duty five years after abdication
By thinkSPAIN Team Tue, May 28, 2019
KING Juan Carlos I has announced his retirement from public duty from this coming Sunday (June 2), exactly five years to the day since he abdicated in favour of his son, King Felipe VI.
The Rex Emeritus (pictured left) has been considering giving up his Royal engagements since last year when he turned 80, according to a formal letter he sent to his son (pictured right) in the latter's capacity of head of State.
This idea 'was reaffirmed in light of the unforgettable commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the Spanish Constitution', HRH Juan Carlos I reveals.
The 40th anniversary was on December 6 last year.
King Juan Carlos' final official act was the presentation of the Spanish Order Awards 2019 in the San Lorenzo de El Escorial Royal Monastery on May 17, when he handed the prestigious prize to historian Miguel Ángel Ladero.
And his last Royal trip was to Chile in March 2018, accompanied by his wife, Queen Sofía, who is the mother of the reigning monarch and from whom King Juan Carlos I has lived separately for many years.
HRH Juan Carlos I was a key figure in bringing the Spanish Constitution of December 1978 into effect, spelling once and for all the end of dictatorship and the dawn of democracy, sealing the Transition process that began with the death of General Franco in November 1975.
The 40th anniversary of its signing left King Juan Carlos I 'full of emotion', since it 'evoked, with pride and admiration, the memory of so many people who contributed to make the Transition possible'.
“This event [in December] allowed me to renew my feelings of permanent gratitude to the people of Spain,” the former monarch wrote.
Since his abdication in 2014, King Juan Carlos I has carried out his official activities 'with the same determination to serve Spain and the Crown' which 'inspired' his reign, but 'the time has come' to 'turn the page' in his life, he explains.
He has taken this decision through 'a father's great love and pride', and signs off the letter by pledging his 'eternal loyalty' to his son and with 'a great big hug'.
HRH Juan Carlos will retain his Royal title and his status as official member of the Royal family, meaning he will still be referred to as 'King' and enjoy the same legal status as he has since his abdication.
This includes a form of 'diplomatic immunity' which, in practice, merely means that any legal dispute or criminal action against him goes straight to the Supreme Court, the highest audience in the land, leapfrogging lower courts, in the same way as with government members and MPs.
The retired King's last appearance in public – although not as part of official duties – was on Wednesday (May 22) at the Las Ventas bullring in Madrid during the fair in honour of San Isidro, watching a bullfight alongside his elder daughter, the Infanta Elena.
Although Juan Carlos I will retire this Sunday, Queen Sofía will continue with her own Royal engagements, including work on behalf of the numerous charities she patronises.
King Juan Carlos I has presided over 119 Royal engagements since his abdication and, as a member of the Royal family, earned a gross annual salary in 2018 of €194,232 as well as having a salaried personal secretary to organise his official diary.
It is not clear yet whether he will continue to earn a Royal salary or be able to keep his staff.
He is likely to carry on with ad hoc private activities, such as supporting charities he is involved with.
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